Rise and fall

There was a time in the US - before the boom and bust of the subprime phenomenon - when a bank would make a credit assessment on a prospective buyer, charge a percent or two over the base rate and take the title of the property as collateral. If the borrower defaulted, the lender would foreclose and use the proceeds to cover the cost of the loan. To put it another way, banks were in the business of lending - they were not invested in the property market.

In an environment of low interest rates an

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